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Huracan
 
 

Huracan [Kindle Edition]

Diana McCaulay

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Product Description

Product Description

In the wake of her mother's death, Leigh McCaulay returns to Jamaica after fifteen years away in New York to find her estranged father and discover whether she has a place she can call home. Not least she must re-engage with the complexities of being white in a black country, of being called to account for the oppressive history of white slave owners and black slaves.

Interwoven with Leigh's return are the stories of two earlier arrivals, both from Scotland--of the abolitionist Zachary Macaulay, who comes as a precocious youth of sixteen to work as a book-keeper on a sugar estate in 1786, and of John Macaulay who comes in 1886, a naive and sometimes self-deluding Baptist missionary, determined to bring light to the heathen.

For each of these arrivals there are discoveries to be made, often painful, about both Jamaica and themselves. Each must come to terms with the contradictions of a society immured in injustice, racial inequality and endemic violence; a landscape of heartbreaking beauty; amd a people who endure with an unquenchable urge for independence.

Diana McCaulay is an award winning Jamaican writer and environmental activist. Between 1994 and 2002, she wrote an acclaimed opinion column for Jamaica’s main daily newspaper, The Gleaner, and a selection of these columns was released as a book in September 2012 as Writing Jamaica: People, Places, Struggles . She has written two novels, Dog-Heart (2010) and Huracan (2012), both published by Peepal Tree Press in the UK, and she is the 2012 Caribbean regional winner of the Commonwealth short story prize, for her story The Dolphin Catcher. Dog-Heart was shortlisted for the Saroyan Prize for International Writing, the Guyana Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award.

About the Author

Diana McCaulay is a writer, a newspaper columnist, an environmental activist, and the chief executive of the Jamaican Environmental Trust. She is the recipient of the David Hough Literary Prize, a Euan P. McFarlane Award for Outstanding Environmental Leadership in the Insular Caribbean, and a Lifestyle Short Story award. She is the author of "Dog-Heart," which won the Jamaican National Literature award.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 489 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Peepal Tree Press (13 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008OO9IY8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #276,563 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A story told in 3 well-woven strands 17 Aug 2012
By Well Then - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The novel, Huracan, takes place during three different periods in Jamaica's history and is told in three well-woven strands. It is the story of Leigh McCaulay, a Jamaican woman who returns home in the mid-1980s, after fifteen years away, having left Jamaica as a teenager. "She was not a tourist. She wanted to explain this to the man. I was born here. I am coming home."
It is also the story of two of her ancestors - Zachary Macaulay, who came from Scotland at the age of sixteen to work as a bookkeeper on a sugar plantation in the 1780s; and John Macaulay, a Baptist minister who came in the 1880s to take up a post at a country church in the parish of Trelawny. The author explores the difficult themes of colour, class and privilege in an unsentimental way, in clear, straightforward prose.
I enjoyed this novel. I cared about the characters and was drawn into the plot, finishing the novel in a couple of days. The story of each of the three main characters is a personal one, but is firmly set in the Jamaica of their time. The details and descriptions gave distinct and convincing impressions of each period; the transitions back and forth across time are done thoughtfully, and contribute to the sense of this novel as one of exploration and discovery of self, history and country.
This is not a romanticized view of life or Jamaica. Hurricanes/storms - literal and metaphorical - exist and impact lives. Good novel. Well worth reading.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where is it? 28 May 2012
By A. C. Lyons - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
We can't review it if you don't have it - can we? The book is available and the author just won a prize for a short story - the Commonwealth Prize. So .... you should carry it.
3.0 out of 5 stars A a caribbean story 20 Jun 2014
By Norma S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting and informative approach to the authors ancestry and "roots". I look forward to more books written by Diane McCaulay.
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty Romance 16 Mar 2014
By cranky granny - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Huracan is a fictionalized family chronicle, loosely based on the lives of several of Ms. McCaulay's ancestors. There is (deliberately) no real continuity -- the reader may see where the threads are going, but they are never actually drawn together. To do so would have required a much longer book, that would have risked being either tedious or contrived. What we get in Huracan avoids both sins.

Ms. McCaulay has a fine eye for detail, a keen ear for language and an intimate understanding of Jamaica. As the ancestors fret and struggle through their parallel lives, each in (but somehow not of) his own era, we begin to realize how little the fundamental problems and challenges have changed. We also gain a lively appreciation of the oddballs and misfits who keep trying -- in spite of everything -- to make a difference.
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling stories of class and colour in Jamaica over three centuries 31 Dec 2012
By DJM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Huracan is an ambitious work by Diana McCaulay inspired by stories of her own family, that unfolds in Jamaica in three different time periods, the twentieth, nineteenth and eighteenth centuries.
In some ways, Huracan is very different from McCaulay's debut "Dog-Heart" which was set entirely in contemporary Jamaica, but one senses in both novels the author's deep interest in exploring issues relating to class and colour. Huracan is a fascinating vehicle for that exploration, providing as it does, a showcase for close examination of class and colour prejudice in Jamaica over the centuries and the abuse of power generally at the expense of poor, black Jamaicans constituting the majority of the population.
The book opens with Leigh McCaulay, a white Jamaican, returning to the island after her mother's death to be immediately greeted by the inevitable "White gal!" a description which forms the backdrop of her re-discovery of Jamaica of the 1980s, which she remembers from the privileged childhood vantage point of the small, closed circles inhabited by rich white Jamaicans. Her choice, this time, to live and work in an entirely different socio-cultural environment is all too obviously, just that, a choice which she can leave behind her at will, in contrast to the people around her.
Then there is the world of 1786, where slavery is still legal, and where Zachary Macaulay has arrived from Scotland to make something of himself, as a bookkeeper on a sugar plantation. The setting then shifts to 1885 post-Emancipation Jamaica where Pastor John Macaulay has just arrived from Scotland with dreams of ministering to his black flock.
The descriptions of life in Jamaica are vividly drawn with occasional tongue in cheek observations of contemporary Jamaica in particular - note the depiction of the household worker who comes to work and changes into a blue uniform with an apron and spends the day cooking, cleaning and serving but is not to be called a "maid," nomenclature which became politically incorrect in post-Independence Jamaica, and the portraits of deliberately unhelpful service providers, as well as the exaggerated bonhomie of tourist workers trying to earn their share of the mighty US dollar. There are also subtle glimpses of the author's background of environmental activism - as in the scene where Leigh tries to figure out how to dispose of an empty coconut shell which most Jamaicans would have tossed away without a second thought.
One scene I found particularly interesting was that describing the passage of a hurricane on the slave plantation. While the hurricane lashes the Great House, the black house slaves:
"stood like sentries. Everyone else sat on chairs or on the floor...animals and machinery had been stored in the hurricane house but there had not been enough room for the over four hundred slaves of Bonnie Valley and many had faced the storm unsheltered."
One can only imagine the thoughts and feelings of those house slaves knowing their families and friends were facing the hurricane in flimsy huts, and finding their bodies in the mud after the storm.
Ultimately this is a story about exploration - of self, of society and of country. McCaulay has created a cast of believable characters in three compelling stories which leave you wondering why Jamaica hasn't progressed further and faster.
A very good read - highly recommended.
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